When Superman & Lois premiered way back in February, it seemed like a show with gorgeous aesthetics and a fantastic cast but not a ton of storytelling meat on its bones. Now 15 episodes and several hiatuses later, it’s one of the most jam-packed series in the Arrowverse canon. Superman & Lois has demonstrated an admirable willingness to change over these past six months—to drop storylines that aren’t working, reframe ones that aren’t meeting their potential, and dramatically ramp up its pacing in the process. And while that sort of leaves this finale feeling like it’s trying to make the most of a whole bunch of retconned pieces, I suspect that adaptability is going to serve Superman & Lois well in the long run.
The majority of “Last Sons Of Krypton” is one long battle to stop EradiEdge and save Jordan’s soul. And while that doesn’t leave as much time for character-centric scenes as I would’ve liked, it does give Superman & Lois ample space to show off its impressive visual effects and some heartwrenching moments of high-stakes drama. The early scene where Clark has to battle a possessed Jordan next to some inconveniently placed lava is especially harrowing. The same is true of the scenes of Smallville becoming a warzone—even if they feel a little bit detached from everything else that’s going on.
The main thesis of the episode is the same “it takes a village” philosophy that once stood as a cornerstone of Smallville’s small town values. After Edge implants Zeta-Rho’s consciousness into Jordan and converts a handful of DOD soldiers into Krypton’s ominous “Defense Council,” the threat is too big for Clark to handle on his own. So he and John Henry Irons form a plan to take down Edge, while Lois and Jonathan team up to de-brainwash Jordan, and the Cushings and Chrissy (and I guess General Lane?) step up to help evacuate the people of Smallville. This finale attempts to weave together just about every major thread of the season (even that random Thaddeus Killgrave subplot). And while it doesn’t quite have the elegance to fully pull it off (I’m still confused about how X-Kryptonite fits into all of this), the effort is nevertheless welcome.
On the weaker side, however: Beyond the fact that the “evil Kryptonian” throughline has run its course, the biggest let down of this episode is Lois and Jonathan’s rescue mission. Though Lois uses the memory machine from the flashback episode “A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events,” we don’t really get any new insights into Jordan or his relationship with his family, the way we did with Lois and Clark in that earlier episode. The idea that only Lois can help Jordan battle his inner darkness is an odd fit for a season that largely dropped the throughline of his social anxiety disorder and hasn’t really made his relationship with his mom a main focus recently either. (It doesn’t help that this episode also has Lois make an absolutely wild leap from “our kids are more capable than we realized” to “I’ll give my untrained 14-year-old son a gun and use him as my only bodyguard,” which is way less heartwarming than the show thinks it is.) While Bitsie Tulloch, Jordan Elsass, and Alex Garfin deliver emotive acting that helps sell the thinner material, the rescue mission is unnecessarily rushed, which also leaves the “core four” dynamic of the series feeling a little underserved too.
Indeed, while “Last Sons Of Krypton” conjures up poignancy during its battle scenes—like Irons falling to Earth after taking down Edge—its most affecting moments actually take place in the calm after the storm. One of my favorite scenes of the entire season is Superman giving Chrissy an exclusive interview about everything that went down in Smallville. Hoechlin’s Superman isn’t someone who just swoops in to save the day and then hightails it out of there, he genuinely cares about honesty, accountability, and public service too. The fact that Lois lets Chrissy take point on the interview speaks well to their burgeoning partnership (which gets taken to a whole new level when Lois invests in the Gazette). And the humble way in which Clark talks about having faith in his own moral compass while still understanding why some people won’t be able to trust Kryptonians reflects just how well Superman & Lois has captured Superman’s central ethos. He’s not a hero for the glory. In fact, he’s the first to turn the praise back on the people of Smallville—the better to remind everyone watching the interview of their own potential to be a hero.
Wolé Parks also gets some welcome moments to shine in this finale, first in the scene where Irons explains to Lois that being around an alt-universe version of his dead wife is too much to bear. And then in the scene where his daughter Natalie makes her surprise arrival outside the Kent family farm. It’s a lovely payoff for Irons’ turn towards selfless heroism, even if it’s also a bit of a random cliffhanger to end the season on. Still, it fits with this finale’s general vibe of leaving things on an optimistic note heading into season two: Jordan and Sarah are in love, the Cushings have been re-embraced by Smallville, General Lane is retiring from the military to focus on his family, Jonathan still has that spark of connection with Tegan (bit of an odd endpoint for him, but sure), and Lois and Chrissy have big dreams of doing small town journalism right. Clark even gets a chance to eulogize his Kryptonian father at a (surprise?) funeral, which returns to a plot point that I quite literally forgot happened in this jam-packed run of episodes, but is still sweet in its own right.
Given the somber way in which it started, it’s nice that Superman & Lois ends on such an upbeat note. For a show that began with too little plot, Superman & Lois course corrected in a way that was exhilarating to watch but also potentially too much too fast. This finale smartly wipes the slate clean in way that will largely allow the show’s second season to start fresh while still learning from the past and nurturing what works. Some growing pains aside, Superman & Lois has offered a refreshing, original take on the Supes family mythos this year. Hopefully season two will continue to rise up, up, and away.
- I know Clark was distracted looking for Jordan, but it seemed a little strange that he just left Jonathan and General Lane at that car crash to be rescued by the Cushings.
- The two biggest laughs of this finale were Jonathan returning his massive stockpile of weapons to Irons and Zeta-Rho finger wagging at Lois, although I’m not sure the latter was an intentional joke.
- I assumed that becoming the Eradicator destroyed Edge’s mind forever, but he seems back to his old self after getting hit with Irons’ hammer. I wouldn’t mind if he and Leslie Larr are just quietly carted off to DOD jail for the rest of the series though.
- “So, terrible odds.” “Sure, but better together.”
- Thanks so much for following along with this season of reviews! I’ll be sticking around The CW on Tuesday nights to cover Stargirl’s second season and Supergirl’s final run of episodes. You can also find me over on Twitter too.